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Thread: Mic Software Preamp

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    daveman_01 is offline Newbie
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    Mic Software Preamp

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    Is there any software out there that acts as a mic preamp without any hardware? if someone could help me it would much be appreciated!
    thanx.

  2. #2
    dgatwood's Avatar
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    Short answer: no.

    Long answer: absolutely not.

    A mic preamp converts a very weak audio signal into a signal strong enough for the encoders in your audio interface to pick it up in a usable way. Yes, you -could- boost it afterwards in software, but the result would be an extremely high level of noise, as the amount of signal coming into your interface from a mic would be very small relative to the amount of electrical noise inherent in the audio interface itself.

    Decent preamps start at around $25 per channel. Don't sweat it.
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    daveman_01 is offline Newbie
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    thanx for ur help

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    Ken in Dallas is offline Newbie
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    Just an added thought....

    Well, maybe there's more that can be said. I think the answer to your
    question depends on why you're asking and what you're going to do with
    what you record. Not everybody here is trying to make the next
    "Rubber Soul" or "The Wall" in their den recording studio.

    If your purpose is recording as some kind of tool, that is documentation of
    some kind -- perhaps of a simpler sound source than a whole band -- and
    you don't need the pre-amp for mic power, then the computer you're
    reading this on might be "enough" to take the analog signal and serve the
    purpose. There are some software applications that will "touch up" the
    signal and might meet your needs.

    Short story: When I began selling musical instruments over the Internet,
    I needed sound files for my customers. I have a small studio from the
    1970s, but the years have caught up with it.

    I'm about to purchase new equipment, but for the last year I've used a
    dynamic mic into my computer's soundcard into "Audacity" freeware.
    In that application I use "plug-in" editors to adjust the sound. The ones
    I use are "normalize," which places the signal at an optimal level, doing
    much of what a pre-amp does; "equalize," removing unwanted excesses
    like fingernail squeek; and "reverb" just a touch to relax things.

    Are these studio-quality recordings? No.
    Do they meet the need? Absolutely.
    My customers have repeatedly commented on how the instrument
    they received sounds just like the recording they listened to.

    Given the nature of your question, I hope it's okay to add these comments.

    Good luck.....

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    mshilarious's Avatar
    mshilarious is offline I see people
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    A mic preamp does a few different things:

    - provides proper input impedance for the microphone
    - converts the balanced microphone signal to unbalanced, and proper grounding and isolation for the signal
    - provides phantom power for mics that need it
    - amplifies the signal, without excessive and unpleasant distortion or noise
    - sometimes, adds "color", "character", or if you please, pleasant distortion.

    Now, back to the question. There has to be an analog component to an A/D converter, because the signal starts in the analog world. It should be perfectly possible to design a converter that does the unbalancing and obviates the need for amplification. "Color", etc. can be added by software, whether or not that's the same box of crayons as analog is a larger question than this thread.

    Are converters designed this way right now? For the most part, no, because the demand has been for converters to interface with existing microphone preamps. But there are already a few mics with internal converters, I suspect that will become a lot more common in the future, as having conversion right off the capsule would simplify a lot of issues with mics and mic preamps.

    If you want good quality recordings without a bunch of extra gear, there are two paths you can travel today: USB microphones, like the Blue Snowball, or regular ol' studio-quality analog mics with all-in-one interfaces that have bundled preamps, converters, and soundcard. Neither option is particularly expensive.

    You'll find that either of those is a superior solution to using a studio-quality mic with consumer-grade soundcards and their onboard preamps and converters, which are typically inferior in one or many of the aspects I listed above.

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    fraserhutch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken in Dallas
    I'm about to purchase new equipment, but for the last year I've used a
    dynamic mic into my computer's soundcard into "Audacity" freeware.
    In that application I use "plug-in" editors to adjust the sound. The ones
    I use are "normalize," which places the signal at an optimal level, doing
    much of what a pre-amp does; "equalize," removing unwanted excesses
    like fingernail squeek; and "reverb" just a touch to relax things.
    What you are doing here is using the preamp built into your soundcard. It is NOT done in software. It is still done in hardware. All you are quibbling about is the quality of the preamp in your soundcard.

    Sheesh. I would strongly suggest that you do some research around here before investing in new equipment.
    The fact that no one understands you doesn't mean you're an artist...

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    chessrock's Avatar
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    I don't have any $$ for accoustic treatment.

    I was wondering if there was some sort of software / plugin (that could serve as accoustic treatment or sound proofing) I could use instead (?)

    Thanks.
    .

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    Dogman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chessrock
    I don't have any $$ for accoustic treatment.

    I was wondering if there was some sort of software / plugin (that could serve as accoustic treatment or sound proofing) I could use instead (?)

    Thanks.
    .
    Yes.............
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    Garik is offline Registered Luser
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    its called unverb..its the latest studio craze
    [AKA PINACHI]
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    There's also a new plug-in called "Slapback echo remover" and "standing-waves remover"

    I'm still waiting for the "Tony Rice Flatpicking Plugin"

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